tv Senate Armed Services on Afghanistan CSPAN October 5, 2017 6:51am-9:31am EDT
secretary mattis, general dunford, discovery, congress, the american people and our men and women in uniform hold you in the highest regard. we have confidence in your leadership, your integrity and your judgment but in light of the experience of the last 16 years what should give us congress the this new strategy for afghanistan will be different? to answer that central question this committee in particular deserves a lot more detailed information from the president and from you not just at today's hearing but in the days, weeks and months ahead. >> thank you, mister chairman. i would like to join you in welcoming secretary mattis in general shaheen - dunford. donald trump announced the president would stay the course
in afghanistan continuing missions of counterterrorism and capacity building to a short history mixed groups never again use afghanistan as a base to attack the united states. in february general john nicholson, commander of us forces in afghanistan testified the conflict in afghanistan and reached a stalemate and stated the need for enhanced authority from several thousand more troops to carry out the mission at lower levels within afghan national defense and security forces and the ministry of defense and the ministry of interior. i support the increase in troops, some have suggested we already been down this path, that a surge in the past 100,000 troops cannot create the conditions to bring this conflict to an end, we ask you in many ways what will be different about this effort that will bring about a change
that did not happen in previous efforts with greater troop numbers and associated authorities. to many the situation is not trending in a positive direction. afghan security forces several high casualty rates in the face of intensified insurgency, the talent and and isis continue to plan and carry out high-profile attacks while maintaining the ability to regenerate their losses record number of civilians killed, it appears record-setting amounts of opium will be produced in afghanistan providing a steady flow of funds to fuel the conflict. on the other hand in spite of this intensified fighting the afghan security forces have demonstrated the ability to withstand talent and offenses and recapture lost ground. they seek to grow their most effective units the afghan special study forces and increase offensive capabilities. the growth of the afghan air force has been a force multiplier for security forces enabling greater offensive actions. in the past year they supported ground forces with limited
coalition systems, conducted surveillance and selection and after action battle damage assessments. i'm interested in your views whether these developments with additional us support will tip the balance on the ground. ultimately this conflict will not be won from the battlefield. according to the present app speech military effort if any and afghanistan will set conditions for the ultimate goals of the settlement between the government of afghanistan and the taliban and protect us interests. the president stated the strategy will integrate american power, diplomatic, economic and military. we have heard little about diplomatic and economic aspects of the plan. the disintegration of the nation is essential and you will give the committee a sense of how continuing military involvement in afghanistan will help translate battlefield progress into political outcomes. the mission in afghanistan is to be successful it is
imperative to disrupt the external sanctuaries in pakistan which continue to provide the taliban and other associated groups the ability to train, recruit, and stage attacks without significant fear of interference. we heard the administration plans to change the relationship with pakistan, i agree that change is needed and look forward to hearing what is available to prospectus tend to make more progress on these issues. in addition to pakistan there are a number of regional actors playing a role in the future of afghanistan. it is important to understand the strategy with regard to countries like russia, china, miller and and india, each of whom seeks to ensure their national interests are preserved in afghanistan many of which are divergent from us interests. general mattis, general dunford, the committee is eager to hear about military aspects of south asia strategy as well as the manner these efforts support the achievement of the
political end state. thank you, look forward to your testimony. >> welcome, secretary mattis, ray members of the committee, i appear before you following the tragic event in las vegas, but the defense staying closely linked with the intelligence community and we remain alert to law enforcement's assessment of events, this committee is keenly aware of the complex and volatile security environment our country faces today, russia continues to invest in a range of capabilities designed to limit our ability to project power, he wrote us influence and undermine nato's transatlantic alliance, china is focused on limiting our ability to project power as well and weakening our position in the indo pacific region even as we work to find common ground in confronting north korea's provocative actions.
the international community as reflected by the latest unanimous security council sanctions resolutions is focused on the destabilizing posed by north korea and the relentless pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. the defense department supports fully secretary to listen's efforts to find a diplomatic solution but remains focused on defense of the united states and our allies. in the middle east, iran continues to project malign influence across the region while we continue to make gains against the terrorist enemy in syria, iraq and elsewhere. in afghanistan we have faced a difficult 16 years. general nicholson kluwer nato and us field commander from 39 nations has blunted the terrorist offenses moves in afghanistan. nato strikes in support of improving afghan security forces in disarray among various enemy groups in
afghanistan have caused the taliban and to constrain movements and limit the taliban's ability to conduct major offensives. beginning last month for the first time in this long fight all six afghan military courts are engaged in offensive operations. during these recent months there have been fewer civilian casualties as a result of coalition operations although regrettably taliban and high-profile attacks on civilians continue to murder the innocent. the taliban and still attempts to seize district or provincial centers before the end of this fighting season, they have generally been forced into decentralized small-scale ambushes and use of improvised explosive devices. importantly the rate of afghan national security force
casualties has reduced from last year. i just returned last week from a trip to india and afghanistan and i can report general nicholson and the nato team are holding the line, forecasts of a significant talent and offensive remain unfulfilled. violence and progress in afghanistan continue to coexist but the uncertainty in the region about the nato campaign has been replaced by certainty due to the implementation of donald trump's new south asia strategy. this has been uniformly embraced by leaders in the south asia region as well as 39 countries contributing troops to the nato-led campaign. we must always remember we are in afghanistan to make america safer and inshore south asia cannot be used to plot transnational attacks against the us homeland or our partners
and allies. our goal is a stable and secure south asia. a political settlement in afghanistan is only possible if the taliban rejects support or conduct of terrorism. based on the intelligence community's analysis and my own evaluation i'm convinced we absent ourselves from this region to our ultimate peril. the new condition-based approach has set the stage for regional and afghan national chains. our new strategy vigorously reviewed and approved by donald trump is, quote, are 4 plus s which stands for regionalized, realigned, reinforced, reconciled and sustained. the first are, regionalized, recognizes challenges exist beyond afghanistan, the strategy adopts a geographic framework with a holistic,
comprehensive view. india, pakistan, iran, russia and china were considered at the outset rather than focusing only on afghanistan and then introducing external variables late in our strategic design. my visit last week to india was in part to thank for their continued generous development support in afghanistan and we discussed ways to expand our collaboration to include long-term regional stability and security. we will firmly address pakistan's role, nato's demands need to be heard and embraced in islamabad. the second part is for real line and shifting made efforts to align more advisors who can provide training and advisory
support at the battalion and brigade level. fighting will continue to be carried out by our afghan partners but our advisors will accompany tactical units to advise and assist and bring nato fire support to bear when needed. make no mistake this is combat duty. afghan forces remain in the lead to do the fighting. we have 11,000 troops in afghanistan alongside 6800 from nato and coalition partners, and 320,000 afghan national security forces. from these numbers alone you can see the afghan forces remain the main effort and we are supporting some, not supplanting or substituting our troops for theirs. the third art is reinforced and that is seen in our addition of over 3000 us troops arriving now and in the coming months to extend nato's advisory effort to afghan troops that are
currently without. nato secretary-general stoltenberg and i together toward afghanistan last week sending a message of unity. he is also reaching out to allies to increase their troop levels. in light of our new strategy 15 nations have signaled he will increase their support. certainty having replaced uncertainty we are now looking to our partners to provide even more troop and financial support. the last are, reconciled is the desired outcome from our military operations. convincing our foes coalition is committed to a conditions based outcome we intend to drive those who will see we are not quitting this way to reconcile with the afghan national government. our goal is a stabilized afghanistan achieved through an afghan let afghan owned peace
process. war is principally a matter of will and the international community is making clear that it will stand alongside the afghans committed to this fight. as we shifted to a conditions based strategy, not time-based or troop number focused ambiguity has been removed. the elements of this strategy a tangible demonstration of our resolve. office will be carried out by, with and through our afghan partners and with the coalition framework, insuring this campaign is politically, fiscally and militarily sustainable. our afghan partners who continue to take the lead fight most effectively where nato and partner advisers are alongside them. as president donnie said the general assembly in new york city, afghans are determined to fight, no one should mistake or will to defend our country.
i am heartened and impressed by the international reception to our strategy. i'm confident we will see a and levels of support from our allies and partners in the months ahead. as nato secretary-general said last week in kabul, this is about making sure afghanistan doesn't once again become a safe haven for international terrorists and the best way of doing that is to enable the afghans to have defense security forces which are strong enough to do that. we are already starting to see the psychological impact of the new strategy both militarily in the field as well as president donnie and the afghan government's commitment to reform. president gone he recognizes fighting corruption and accelerating institutional reform across government are critical to success. the recently launched us afghan
compact outlining more than 200 measurable benchmarks for reform demonstrates our shared emphasis on these goals. our south asia strategy reinforces to the taliban and that the only path to peace and political legitimacy is through a negotiated settlement. it is time for the taliban to recognize they cannot way to power or provide refuge and support to transnational terrorists who intend to do us harm. i want to close by recognizing the need to maintain the closest possible dialogue with chris and specifically with this committee. i pledge to the moment of defense will be fully responsive to the requirements be kept apprised of current and planned operations. as my senate confirmed position, greater capacity to deal with multiple worldwide
security challenges of keeping you fully informed. i trust i have your support to ensure necessary civilian oversight of our military as we address the complex and increasingly volatile national security environment. >> general dunford. >> dismissed members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to join secretary matus in providing an update on the cell agent strategy. general nicholson has provided the current condition as a stalemate. secretary mattis has testified we are not winning, members of this committee debate samoa statements. the situation has developed since the nato mission transition to an advisory effort. since january 2015 we have advised and accompanied special operations units at the tactical level but our advisory effort for conventional forces has generally been limited to the afghan institutional level.
we also reduced aviation, artillery and intelligence support provided to the afghan forces. this construct did not provide afghan supports is they needed to succeed in combat operations. my military assessment is we drew down the advisory effort and combat support for afghan forces too foreign too fast. as a result the taliban and expanded territorial and population control and inflicted significant casualties on the afghan army and police as the campaign launched momentum. last spring secretary mattis directed the department to conduct a failure analysis to identify the root causes for the lack of progress in afghanistan and directed we provide targeted solutions. informed by these findings our commanders developed, secretary mattis approved a new operational approach to break the stalemate and bolster afghan capabilities. the new approach supports the broader strategy by expanding our advisory efforts to a tactical level, increasing the
combat support we provide to afghan partners and enhancing authorities to our commanders. we believe these adjustments will improve the ability of the afghans to conduct offensive operations, defend critical terrain and reduce afghan casualties. the emphasis is on providing effective support for the 300,000 afghans we have trained and equipped so they can secure their own country. going forward we will support the efforts to reorganize the afghan forces which will expand special operations units while reducing less effective units. we will also continue our efforts to develop capable and sustainable afghan air force. finally we will enhance and expand our own counterterrorism operations in the region. by next spring this approach will have our most senior,
capable and operationally experienced leaders advising the decisive point and afghan operations. the efforts will be fully enabled by the support and authority needed for the afghans to take the fight to the enemy. as we implement the strategy we are dealing with corruption, the single greatest roadblock to progress. our military objectives are clear and achievable. defeat isis and al qaeda in afghanistan and ensure other terrorist groups are unable to launch attacks against the homeland, us citizens or our allies. further developed afghan forces capable of managing residual violence with limited international support. support president gaudio's efforts to secure key population, centers and enduring counterterrorism partnership with afghanistan to protect our shared interests in south asia. secretary to listen recently outlined this entire effort is intended to put pressure on the telegram and have them understand they will not when the battlefield victory, so enter an afghan lid peace process to steal the conflict. thanks again for the opportunity to join you and i
look forward to questions. >> thank you, mister secretary. and thank you for your appearing today. as i mentioned in my opening statement 16 years ago, most of us would have been surprised to think 16 years later we would still be involved in a conflict in afghanistan. arguably militarily the strongest nation on earth. and that as we mentioned earlier the tremendous price 2000 americans have given their lives, 20,000 more have been wounded and our commander in afghanistan testifies before this committee we are in a, quote, stalemate. that is hard for most americans
to understand. some of that, as i mentioned, is the failed strategy or lack of strategy by the previous administration. i have said that fairly often. i would like to say again, you have been in office since january and so far we have not seen the details of the conditions based strategy that will bring about an end to the conflict in afghanistan. we have had as many as 100,000 troops in afghanistan at one time or another and it didn't end the conflict. i would like you to tell me how the inclusion of 2500 is going to change the battlefield
equation including the fact that we have a classic west point text govern enemy that is based in a sanctuary, that has sanctuary in pakistan. we know the street address of the connie network, we know where they are, what they are doing and what they are doing across the border and we have not with any effectiveness in the last 16 years restricted their activities and had any particular progress in eliminating their sanctuary status and i would like to add one other point. general nicholson said we are in a, quote, stalemate.
should the taxpayers of america be satisfied that we are still in a, quote, stalemate? i don't think so and i would like to repeat again we have had a lack of communication, lack of information to this committee that to me is very disturbing. there are not two individuals i admire more than sitting at the table facing this committee but i want to tell you again, we will not accept lack of information, lack of strategy, lack of coordination with this committee and there are several methods thanks to the constitution that we have to
try to force a change in that relationship. i have been told by both of you we are now going to work closely together with the committee, that we are working with various allies. i'm glad to hear that. if anyone on this committee feels they have been fully briefed on what our strategy in afghanistan and iraq is, i would -- please raise your hand. so constitution of the united states is something every one of us raised our hands when we were sworn in as united states senators. one of the phrases, support and defend the constitution of the united states, not support and defend the president of the united states but support and defend the constitution of the united states. all i can say is my deep admiration and respect for both of you, we are going to have to
act to preserve and respect our constitutional responsibilities. the hearing you gave a week or so ago was nice to hear. i thought it was interesting information but i certainly didn't think it was sufficient information for us to act on the defense authorization bill which provides for training, equipping, protection and capabilities of the men and women who are serving that we represent that are serving in afghanistan, iraq, syria, etc.. all i can say to you, my friends and you are my friends, there is a constitution, we are coequal branch and we will expect, i know there has been turmoil with the white house etc. a number of other personnel issues, but that does
not relieve you of the responsibility to keep us informed, seek our advice and consent and -- which is also in the constitution. if you don't, then we have no choice but to exercise our responsibilities under the constitution and i regret to say this to two of the people i admire and respect as much is anyone i have ever known in my years of service. senator reid. >> thank you, mister chairman. i raise this question because you raised in opening comments, the department of defense supports secretary tillerson's to poetic efforts in north korea. that does not seem to be translated to the president as he has in several tweets suggested secretary tillerson's open channels, preparing to
discuss issues directly and indirectly is a waste of time. how do you respond to those? on the one hand you strongly support them and the president is trying to knock it off? >> donald trump's guidance to both secretary tillerson and me has been very clearly that we would pursue the diplomatic effort to include with various initiatives with china and to ensure that we pushed on sanctions, economic sanctions designed to keep this in the diplomatic framework, moving forward. i believe secretary tillerson is accurately stating that we
are probing for opportunities to talk with the north. all we are doing is probing, not talking with him consistent with the president's dismay about not talking with them before the time is right, before they are willing to talk so i do not see the divergence as strongly as some have interpreted it. at the same time the president has a responsibility to ensure we go into this with our eyes wide open, with numerous republican and democrat administrations in the past having been disappointed in this initiative. the dynamic balance as we tried to go forward with a solution but at the same time we have military options. >> a final point, i don't want to dwell on this but in these situations the possibility of miscalculation, misinformation,
misinterpretation is very real. communication, even back channel communication this to not negotiating but simply able to send messages, do you think that is vitally important? the president seems to be disparaging even those types of messaging channels. >> i the president dispatching secretary tillerson to beijing with the last several days to carry messages and look at the way we can work with them is the most accurate answer to your question, that in fact this is part of the whole government integrated effort that we have underway right now and that is what secretary tillerson was carrying forward. >> thank you, mister secretary. following the chairman's comments about the need to essentially describe the
strategy which conceptually seems to be appropriate but the devil is in the details, specifically with respect to pakistan, the president called out pakistan rightfully so but the question is what are we going to do? what options are we considering? >> the first thing is we are working with the international community, to ensure that we go in with a unified nato position, afghanistan, you are aware i stopped first in new delhi on my way to couple in order to further integrate what indians are doing and turn to develop and 8 and diplomatic
efforts to ensure that south asia's stability and peace are prioritized, not just by us, not just by us in afghanistan but across south asia so there will be a very specific number of things we deal with pakistan on and those will be balanced with appropriate levels of firmness as we set a new relationship with pakistan. we can go into great detail, i prefer to do so in your office over what those specifics are to ensure our diplomats go in fully armed and have the initiative when the discussion is open, starting in a couple weeks in islamabad. >> thank you. >> senator inhofe. >> and observation. one member, one of the major improvements i have seen is -- i congratulate the defense
department and administration for saying they would no longer comment on exact troop numbers and imposing public deadlines, that is a major change from the previous administration and very helpful. secretary matus, you gave a pretty long answer to the question we get confronted with often. let me ask for a short answer, we understand the problem for a safe haven for terrorists in afghanistan and all these other things, can you reiterate to the american people in a brief way why they should care about the future of afghanistan and we should continue to expend resources and risk any more american lives, what is the short answer? >> why should we continue is to
make certain that americans can live safely. when i advised the president on sending troops in a position where they can die i have to know in my analysis that this is going to sufficiently contribute to the well-being of the american people to put those troops lives at risk. >> that is a good, brief answer, you. february 21st, centered around and four other members and i said down and spent quite a bit of time with president ghanaian general nicholson and we made a list of some eight things they are looking at for the future. i would like to pick out three of these and ask either one of you for a current status of where we are because i think you would agree twist week 8 points they brought up, when is the need for more coalition forces to train and assist the afghan military, the second is strength and commitment of the afghan people who want to take their country back, the status of that and third, shifting the focus to winning versus not losing. start with the need for more coalition forces to train and
assist the afghan military. what is the status of that? >> the afghan forces, special forces commandos have won every time they thought the enemy. right now we are adding more troops to that very purpose, bringing in more nato coalition partners and trying to bring in more troops for advise and assist and we intend to get this down to every core is going to have a gate that will have the trainers and advisers with them and within that brigade when they do offensive, one or two battalions they will also now have trainers. they have not had them in the past several years, they were not able to get swift access to nato air support, fire support. >> the level of commitment of the afghan people, what is the status of that? >> thanks.
there is constant polling in afghanistan, the most recent paul said 87% of the afghan people reject where the taliban represents, 75% had confidence and trusted afghan security forces. that is moving in the right direction. >> it wasn't that way last february. >> it is a slight improvement from last february but a significant improvement from 2011-12. >> the third one, shifting the focus to winning versus not losing. >> that is exactly what the strategy we just outlined is designed to do and from a military perspective what secretary mattis made clear, we need measurable objectives to ensure the afghan security forces are capable of providing security with minimum support, that is one element, making
sure isis and al qaeda in the region are defeated is the second element for keeping other groups from conducting attacks against the united states and our allies is a third element and reinforcing the efforts of the peace process is a fourth element. >> the chairman in his opening statement talked about -- he quoted conditions on the ground are not arbitrate timetables, our strategy for now on,ofheou further defining conditions? >> first of all the population centers and bulk of the afghan people are protected from the terrorists, that denies the very platforms they need if they want to conduct attacks against us come our allies, that sort of thing. furthermore, we have to see a country that is able to provide government services.
there has been a wholesale swap out of many of the old leaders in various ministries to include the military leaders today across the board from commander of the army down, post 9/11 proven people, we are getting people in now who are not covered by the old ways of doing business that have bedeviled us for so long. further, we will see in terms of the afghan military we will see more effective operations in the field such as we are seeing now for the first time in the war on offenses strikes going against caliban and other terrorists in the country. this will drive him toward reconciliation, afghan lead, afghan owned reconciliation that will end this war. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you both for being
here. i am still not clear based on chairman mccain's questions that he raised this effort will succeed. can you give me a specific response in the way you gave senator inhofe a response to why it matters? >> we have right now the ability to make the afghan military which has been through some very tough times, make more effective in the field. when they go into the fight no longer will they worry about the high ground, it is unpleasant to have the enemy nato airstrikes over, the -- deny the enemy having the high
ground in dominating terrain. that is a tactical effect that will make the afghan army boulder and give them more opportunities militarily to take the fight to the enemy. that would be the way as we take the fight to the enemy convinced the taliban you cannot win this by killing. >> what was the strategy behind dropping the mop bomb last april and was it successful? >> that was not a strategy, that was a tactical event in the field, the collapse of tunnels troops did not want to go into for obvious reasons, they wanted to make it an unfair fight. >> was it successful? >> the immediate tactical effect, yes, it was. it was not a strategic act.
it was a tactical decision by a commander in the field who did not want to put his troops in a position that obama could take care of. >> you said and others will this war will not be won on the battlefield, it will be won because there is a peaceful, this is my analysis based on what that means, it will be determined by a peaceful agreement between the taliban and the afghans and i assume other players in the region will need to be part of that. i know, proactively going after the taliban is designed to bring them to the table but again, do we just because there is now air cover for the troops, the afghan army that that is going to be enough to bring them to the table? the second part of that
question is, i assume the united states would be part of any agreement, and given what libya and ukraine and other countries have seen with respect to changing commitments around weapons, why would you tell a ban think they can negotiate with the us at the table in a way that would provide certainty about what the future might hold. >> including ears, there was a decidedly short-term view. one that was hedging behavior by the afghan people, by the caliban, regional actors, in 12
months -- in afghanistan it was known the y2k effect, the expectation was afghanistan was going to be confronted with enemy with support and the taliban said that message to their fighters and motivated their people that one more year in the fight we will defeat the coalition, they will leave afghanistan. one of the more significant things about that approach is the taliban and, we started to see this in the intelligence, no longer have a short-term horizon to motivate their people. the impact has been fairly significant. will that be sufficient to bring them to the table? i don't know but we have not presented them with a conditions-based approach that extend the horizon for the commitment, makes an enduring commitment, the taliban leadership to support that
context. >> very quickly, senator, the polling the chairman indicated shows the overwhelming bulk of the afghan people don't buy the caliban's outcome, they don't agree with, they don't agree everyone has got to act in a certain way and based on that and having seen the afghan forces put up severe casualties going down now and holding the line, we now see regenerated since they can push the caliban into a position they have no hope of winning so it goes back to what was established long ago, where this military
campaign has to lead, they stop killing people, lived by a constitution and break with international terrorists. that is a pretty low bar and we intend to peel off a fair number as they see there's no hope of military victory. >> time is up, thank you. >> senator fischer. >> mattis and i discussed the fact the boots on the ground limitation forced him to hire contractors to maintain helicopters because us personnel would have counted against the troop. disparate unit readiness and cost the government tens of millions of dollars in his estimate. under the new approach are we fixing issues like this? will we be adding us personnel in a way that allows us to reduce our reliance on these contractors and help us save money >> it will, the challenge is how to get the right balance on this. i agree with how general richardson characterized that
problem to you in his testimony. it is one of the reasons i decided to add reinforcements although the bulk of them will go to advise and assist, some will fill in those gaps. we did not have a wise location of unit strength centered in for those reasons so it is some we have to address and i believe i have the ability to do so now. >> when you say you believe -- >> i have to look at it and make certain. we know it will solve a lot of -- we know that much but i have to look at the tentacles of the policy decisions that have been in place a long time but i'm very much aligned with general nicholson, what general nicholson said i think was accurate and your concern i share. >> are we looking at a boots on
the ground limitation in afghanistan? did the president raise the cap or did he do away with altogether? >> the president gave me more -- the president gave me more flexibility to deal with this issue and has shown himself open when i go in to talk with through my recommendations. as you know this was a hard-fought effort, the president challenged every assumption to address the concerns that were brought up this morning. is open to me going back in but right now i i have what i need going in to carry out the strategy as outlined. if not i will go back in. >> over the last few years we have seen a decrease in combat air operations in afghanistan from 2010-2015, we saw total sorties against enemy targets decrease by 84% in a span of
five years. during the previous administration this was coupled with i felt restrictive rules of engagement that focused on returning fire rather than allowing commanders to proactively attack those talent and targets. in contrast to your campaign against isis has reached record levels with 21 sorties, 2016, the use of american airpower helped them further inroads by isis and was used successfully in locations like rahmani. are we looking at something similar, this aggressive action and use of airpower as a new strategy in afghanistan? >> it is embedded in the revised energy. we had more airstrikes than any year since 2012 so already you
see some results of releasing our military from a proximity requirement. close is the enemy to the afghan or us by special forces? that is no longer the case. these kinds of restrictions that did not allow us to employ airpower fully have been removed. that said, we will never fight at any time especially in wars among innocent people with doing everything possible to protect the innocent the enemy purposely jeopardizes by fighting among them. that is some take as an absolute in terms of how we conduct tactical event on the battlefield. >> you spoke in your opening comments about implementing strategy and support for president godey and improve the
afghan air force. do you see a mission of the afghan air force working in conjunction with air force but the future being able to take on those capabilities on their own without it? >> absolutely. afghan capability, us capability employed in support of afghans in an integrated way. long-term, 6 or 7 years from now, completely transform the afghan air force as transition from mi 17 helicopters to you a 60 helicopters which includes an attacks variant. over the past few years we feel to the a 29, a fixed wing attack aircraft and md 5s which are small helicopter. the afghan special operations mission is indicative of where we believe they are forced to which is an effective ability to bring afghan special operations forces and we expect
the progress in the afghan air force. it has come a long way in the past two years and in the next 6 or 7 years we expect the afghan air force to provide the support the afghans need. >> my time is up, thank you for your service. >> senator gillibrand. >> thank you for your service. i want to associate my remarks with chairman mccain in terms of the strategy. we know from donald trump that he has an unspecified increase of 3 more troops but most of come from remarks and statements by the afghan president, i am concerned american people cannot make good decisions about this conflict when they are not told -- the servicemembers we are sending. do i have your commitment about the number of troops standing over and what their missions
will be? >> know, if it involves telling the enemy something that will help them. in any terms of honesty with this committee in private at any time, in closed hearings, we will get specific to as you wish, no reservations at all. talking with the american people we will tell we are adding troops, give approximate numbers, we are not hiding this, i would rather not say specific capabilities or numbers on the battlefield, going out of confidentiality. >> i didn't ask those details, i asked about troop numbers and our mission. >> we will keep this can be fully informed as we have in
closed hearings right down to specifics of troop numbers. i think it is better to stay in general terms. we have said over 3000, not that we are hiding the trend we are going in but specific the best shared with you alone. >> general dunford. >> i associate myself with comments of the secretary. >> i would like to talk about the iran deal. in the address to the general family donald trump to the iran deal is one of the worst and most 1-sided transactions the united states ever entered into. it is no secret the administration is considering not recertifying to congress on october 15th despite demonstration twice edifying the complaint of the agreement in the iaea have reported eight times iran is in compliance. in fact, general dunford coming your recent nomination here you responded to a question about the administration's intention to walk away from the iran
nuclear agreement take it would, quote, have an impact on others willingness to sign agreements, have had clear they believe iran is in compliance and will not support efforts to renegotiate the agreement including our closest allies france and germany and countries we need to work with in other areas like russia and china. one of the reasons i supported it is i believe the terms of the agreement gave us greater transparency. we know where their lines are, their mills come all their production capabilities and sing. intelligence is important in our military leaders and intelligent leaders whether that was so. my view is without disagreement we will lose that transparency. what is your view on that assessment, general dunford?
>> senator, the agreement right now, what i testified to last week iran is not in material breach of the agreement. i believe the agreement is delayed the development of nuclear capability by iran. change the premature end of this agreement or withdrawal impact our insight into iran's activities? >> i didn't hear that. >> how would either a premature ending of the agreement or us unilateral withdrawal impact our insight into iran's activities? >> as i understand it right now, i have been dealing with president and secretary of state on this, right now being considered in terms of the sick of the united states, we are talking about the law that was passed up here, have to certify, plus the agreement, these are two separate you can talk about the condition under one of those and not walk away
from the other one, two different pieces, that is under consideration about how we deal with the legal requirement from congress as well as the international agreement. >> general dunford, you said we should focus leveraging our partners that were part of the agreement to deal with those challenges, whether the terrorist threat or maritime threat and so forth. do you agree with that assessment? >> in general terms, i do. the amount of misconduct internationally, with ballistic missiles, rhetoric, support to terrorists, threats to our friends, arab and israel in the region by iran, areas where they are open to a great deal of censure by the international community and we are not naïve about the nuclear issue and we
are being alert to any cheating on that right now. >> thank you, mister chairman. >> thank you, senator reid. jennifer -- general dunford, we heard america is losing the war in afghanistan. is that true? >> what we said is we are not winning, it is at a stalemate. that is my assessment of where we are. we are not at a point we can bring a successful political solution to the war. >> if the american leadership including people in this room, including the pentagon and executive branch, if we decide to win this conflict in afghanistan, is there any reason we shouldn't be able to do so? >> at the end of the day it
will require the afghan people to develop a peace process that will bring an end to the war. what i believe the united states do with our coalition partners is provide the afghan government and afghan security forces the support they need to bring an end to the more. >> is there any reason we can't provide that support? >> i don't believe there's any reason we can't provide that support. the new strategy we are here to discuss provides the afghan government and afghan security forces with that level of support to bring this to a successful completion. >> this has been alluded to come you mention the afghan people. is there any lack of resolve on part of the afghan people including their hearts and minds, that would be a stumbling block was being successful in this strategy?
>> i don't believe so. it is clear from my personal experience and recent polling the afghan people do want a better life for themselves, they reject the ideals of the taliban and from an individual soldier perspective the ones we can say is afghan forces have been incredibly resilient and demonstrated the will to fight under the most extraordinary conditions. >> they certainly have always demonstrated a willingness to fight. are we viewed as an invading force? >> i but an invading force. consistently afghan people have requested us to be there. our presence is favorable in polling, typically between 70%, 80% of the afghan people went to support led by the united states. we made it clear our objectives are to support and afghan led peace process, support afghan
security forces, bringing security to the country. i don't very few people who would consider as an invading force inside afghanistan. the vast majority are happy we are helping bring peace and security to their country. >> in regards to the new strategy new plan, the new emphasis on america doing its part to get the job done, how do our troops feel about that up and down the rank-and-file? >> if you speak to any young man or woman who has served in afghanistan's they want to get the mission done. we certainly, secretary mattis has recently come back from afghanistan, all they want to know is what is the mission? they want the where with to accomplish that mission and that is what we are trying to provide. >> i'm not surprised by your answer. let me ask about nato. you met with the
secretary-general recently, nato allies have made significant contribution. how are we doing with theing conference of nato? are you satisfied with that progress? >> i need to get to nato now that we have the strategy in hand, now that secretary gillibrand and i have sat down with our counterparts, we are already in contact with them, from 15 nato nations fighting under nato's flag in australia, georgia, i believe we will see 15 nations, additional troops, there could be more than that, those are just the ones i have. >> what is there steak in all this? >> if anything they are more
vulnerable in the united states in terms of transnational terrorists operating out of afghanistan against the european climate. they have a lot at stake but i all the nations from south asia, india, china has a stake in this, europe does. this is a transnational problem. >> let me tell both of you i appreciate your work and i support you and i want you to tell us what you need and we will try to get it for you. >> senator kaine please. >> secretary mattis, short answer questions. do you believe it is in our national security interests to remain in the jcp oa? yes or no question. >> yes, senator, i do.
>> you may have noticed i was talking to chair mccain, i'm also on the intelligence committee and i hear varying analyses of the status of afghanistan from the military and civilian intelligence agencies. in september 1963 president kennedy center famous mission to vietnam. a marine general, mendenhall is with the foreign service, they gave different account of what was going on in vietnam. one was optimistic about the progress, kennedy is famous,
if you define winning and making sure we don't have another attack on the homeland from the terrorist organization and of the 90 that we recognize, international terrorist group, they operate in south asia. we can do that. if that includes getting the afghan forces to the point where they provide security for their country with a minimum amount of national support, we can do
entire organization, not peel off small units. number one, president ghani has taken a different approach of the taliban. he said he had access in peel and other groups off. the other is the taliban and what their timeline with their horizon was. the taliban have always thought international community would lose the will to fight. they always assume the international coalition would quit and allow them to be successful in the battlefield. the most important thing from the nato and u.s. active, the most important thing said over the past few months as this will be conditioned space. there is no time horizon for this and this will fundamentally change the calculus and taliban. i think what president ghani will continue to do is peel back elements and realize achieving their political object is in the battlefield is fruitless. >> agreed. >> a great change from calendar based a condition base is interesting. a lot of people are advocated.
the final question i get is the safe haven argument, isn't that an all-purpose argument? we've got prices the area that iran controlled parts of iraq. north africa come all kinds of places potentially safe haven. it is the domino theory argument of our generation. the all-purpose argument that would justify intervention in practically any place in the world. secretary mattis. >> senator, the problems that were a lot of ungoverned spaces do not remain and uncovered spaces. >> a lot of ungoverned spaces. our approach to bases by, with and through allies. not to take this on ourselves. i can show you how we look sad if we had this many american
forces, what is the ratio for the others, if anything below one to 70, and in cases one to 208. when american troop gets 250 from coalition or a host nation with what the situation is. i would be very and to go that way. there is a way for us to read about caring the full burden on the american tax sources. >> i understand and appreciate the strategy or following. >> thank you, sir appeared gentlemen, let me begin by thanking you both for your service. and we appreciate the opportunity to ask some specific questions. senator king started this out they asking for a yes or no answer from secretary mattis. i would like to go a step further than not with regard to
the jcpoa. could you share it with us the logic used in determining the jcpoa right now, in if it advantageous for us to stay there at this time. could you share that with the american public? >> absolutely, senator. the point i would make is if we can confirm iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interest, then clearly we should stay with it. i believe at this point in time, absent indications to the contrary, it is something the president should consider staying with. there is another requirement in our best interest and it goes into a broader definition of national security, broadening beyond the issue of the agreement itself.
that means the president has to consider more broadly things that rightly fall under his portfolio looking out for the american people and areas that go beyond the specific letters of the jcpoa. i support the rigorous review he's got going on right now. >> thank you, sir. i may talk about tax for just a second. pakistan is a large part of the new afghan strategy. in the past, our relationship with pakistan was transactional in nature. right now, how would you categorize pakistan, an ally against terrorism and a supporter of efforts in afghanistan or an indifferent business partner. >> senator, pakistan has a convoluted history with terrorism. there can be little doubt that
there've been terrorist groups that have use pakistan as a haven for tax outwardly and not just towards afghanistan. we've seen the attacks on india as well. at the same time, probably few nations, perhaps none have lost as many troops fighting terrorists as they have. so you have this dichotomy there and i believe by working with the regional allies and partners we have in working with the international partners, there is a way to bring the whole of government approach to this to deal firmly with this in a positive direction between the nato allies in pakistan and remove the safe havens. >> general dunford, with regard to the strategies being used in afghanistan today, the chairman made it clear that there needs to be a guy like you with regard to strategies. could you share a little bit any
concerns you have as to how you share the strategies, the limitations that you feel are placed upon you with regard to sharing strategies versus simply telling the world what our plans are and allowing our adversaries an advantage in doing so. would you share with us a little bit your thoughts with regards to what you can share, what you can do and how you're going to do with that. >> senator, i can. that's a fair question. first of all, we should be able to communicate clearly the hands of the strategy. you think of the strategy has ends ways and means, what we want to do, how we do it in the means necessary to do it. but those are the three elements of strategy, we have to be upfront about what the hands of our strategy is that there's no doubt. in terms of the means necessary in the aggregate, we should be very up front in terms of how much money it's going to cost and generally speaking what are the resource capabilities required to be successful.
it is in the meadow, which is how we plan to implement the strategy for many of the things we would want to do would be best left classified and discussed in a closed hearing so that congress can provide oversight but adversaries don't find this to be predictable. >> thank you peered thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator kaine. senator peters. >> thank you for your testimony here today and thank you to both of you for your incredible service to our country. before i ask a question related -- a couple questions related to afghanistan, i would like to follow up on a question asked by senator reagan is particularly important considering general dunford when asked about the principal threats to our country from the national security to, you put the threat from north korea, number one in the short-term. we talked about longer-term challenges we have is a country but in the immediate term, north korea something we need to focus on. that's why you like to go back
to the streets made by the president, which i will read directly became not just sunday. i told rex tillerson are wonderful secretary of state that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with little rocket man. he followed that up with save your energy, racks. we will do what has to be done. which is a striking statement. most folks who saw those streets, particularly folks in the foreign policy community thought basically the president was pulling the rug out from underneath secretary tillerson. and he is our chief diplomat, somebody who is entrusted to find diplomatic solutions to difficult situations. general mattis, i have incredible respect to you as a student of history. you have followed development throughout our history and have been history and having a life doesn't thought very carefully about those. have you ever seen another time in history it are another example you can think of for a
president would actually pull the rug out from under their secretary of state their secretary of state as they are about to embark on some very delicate negotiations or perhaps diplomatic efforts to deal with the situation as important as nuclear weapons. >> i think president trump dispatching secretary tillerson to beijing to deal with prc with china on this issue shows the level of attention is in time to work other nations diplomatically by dispatching i agree our top diplomat to beijing to do that very thing. i believe secretary tillerson's remarks about probing north korea to see if they are ready to talk is what the president was referring to. not the diplomatic effort writ large. >> so they treat us as save your
energy, racks, will do what has to be done, is that something you agree with? >> i believe again what he was saying the press that characterized it this secretary tillerson was looking to talk right now. secretary tillerson said he is not. he is probing to see if they are ready to talk about ugly and i think it was the nuance that was lost to there, senator. >> general dunford commie you in your hearing last week mentioned from a long-term security concern would be the rise of china as one that we have to be focused on and thinking very carefully how we deal with that, secretary mattis, you talk about how we need to avoid that as well in our relations with china going forward. my question related to afghanistan as we are well aware the one held from a one-word strategy seeks to secure china's control over both the continental and maritime
interest in their eventual hope of dominating eurasia and natural resources there, things certainly at odds with u.s. policy. my question to both of you is what you see china playing in afghanistan and particularly related to their one bout, one red strategy from the things we be looking not in terms of arguments in afghanistan. >> senator, regarding one bout, one road, globalized world has many belt and many road and no one nation should put themselves in a position of dictating one bout, one road. it also goes through disputed territory and that in itself shows the vulnerability to establish that sort of a dictate. as part of afghanistan goes, in some areas we work with china on
the prk, for example, terrorism. there are areas where we can find common ground with china that comes to counterterrorism and we should exercise those areas pretty fully. we should be under no illusions art areas strategically need to confront china where we think is unproductive to reason region they are going in. >> passably many areas of divergence within the areas in afghanistan is one of those for some potential. china is threatened by a specific terrorist organization that operates out of afghanistan. they have worked to develop a relationship with the afghan government. the afghan government welcomes any support the chinese may provide. i view we can isolate some of the broader areas and how divergence to actually with a helpful parter enough
afghanistan that are necessary in the united states certainly not in a position to provide those funds by itself. >> thank you to be mac on behalf of senator mccain, senator ernest. >> thank you for being here today and for your continued communication with the complicated issue of afghanistan and many, many other issues facing our nation. a collaborative effort is necessary to guarantee policy and posture properly supporting our national defense and gentlemen, i appreciate you working at this to get both of these right for the american people. so i commend you on not. secretary mattis, one that defers the responsibility of congress to the pentagon in ways the american people in the dark.
i disagree. to the contrary i think that it keeps the enemy in the dark and i will agree with senator mccain on this point that it does require congress to exercise our responsibility to represent our constituents. mr. secretary, what is your plan to keep congress informed as we move through the new strategy in afghanistan? we want to make sure we are able to inform the american people as representatives of our state. but what would your plan b in what would that look like moving forward? >> senator, first i fully endorse the closest possible collaboration in the absolute openness sometimes enclosed herein because it will be that sensitive in terms of its details. but i fully endorse it. the plan would be to maintain constant collaboration and
whether they be in your offices reefing you boring hearings or any other venue that you think most fruitful. i have been committed to this since i was confirmed and had a few challenges filling my jobs in the pentagon, which have impacted my ability to standup to the high ranking people that can address things at the level you would expect. as those jobs get filled, this will get even easier. until then, it's my responsibility to keep you fully informed and i'll do so. >> thank you. i appreciate it. we need to understand here in the senate that very many positions that still need to be filled. thank you for the gentle reminder. furthermore, do we have your commitment that you will give thee counsel its due regard as you evaluate the success of your
strategy? >> battle may give it due regard, senator. i needed. this is not a job that can be done by any person, but your input, especially this committee's input is welcome. >> thank you. we must exercise their oversight but i agree 100% that the details of the plans should not be open to public and for public dissemination. so thank you for that. i am however excited about the new strategy. imagine different ways general dunford which will execute this new strategy. a couple of those advisement systems at the tactical level rather than the conventional forces in the higher level. i think that is really great. it's worked for the special operations forces in afghanistan. and also leveraging partners is exceptional. one thing we had not fully utilized in the past. last week i met with 21 afghan
generals and from the afghan national security force and made to wear expressing unanimous support of the new strategy and they have a lot of confidence in this new administration. in addition to security ops, we agree that an international effort must be utilized. supporting through nato and other stakeholders like india and knowing that indiana needs to be leveraged in the future as well. mr. secretary, i know that you were in india. can you explain to us what their role and how we can leverage them moving forward and the whole of government support. what is that look like? what do you envision? >> senator ernest, the afghan people have a deep and abiding affection for the indian people. there is a collaboration they are based on a very generous and
enduring indian government support for development for hospitals, schools, roads, all of the city views by polite society together, especially shattered the way that one has been through the afghan society has been sent the soviet invasion. they are going to continue. i met with prime minister melody as national security advisor. they are committed to continuing and broadening their development support and they are supported the afghan defense courses in terms of repairing the equipment, training officers and ncos in their military schools and trained medical doctors and medics for the afghan army to take care of battlefield casualties. so i believe that prime minister asserts will actually be
enhanced in the months and years ahead based on the send we are fully committed, he can now commit more of himself to the stability and prosperity of south asia. it's in all of their best interests. >> i appreciate that very much. i believe this is up for regional partners as well. i'm glad our administration is engaging them. thank you for being there today. >> on behalf of senator mccain. >> thank you to the witnesses for your service. secretary mattis come in your opening testimony i was just quickly scribbling. the fourth harvest reconciliation. one of the things we've read in the paper recently is the decision about the taliban office open to qatar which is open with support from the u.s. and afghan government to provide some channel for discussion. there is a decision been made within the administration of
whether the office should be closed. i understand no decision has been announced on that. i know that there is a fight, but can you talk a little bit about when you think a decision might be made on matter what this sort of equity sorry that the -- that they are grappling with? >> i can. the decision will be made shortly. the equities is exact to the point. we have the right people in that office right now. as you know, and the enemy under the increasing pressure they've been under in the loss of some of their leadership has become increasingly fractious. and some ways that is good. it means they are now doing more because they can't comply offense is politically it more problematic to find who actually speaks for the taliban. secretary tillerson and i have been in contact on this issue three times in the last 10 days. he's looking to make certain we have the right people.
an office he can actually deal with. so that is what's going on right now. no decision has been made to anticipate one would be made soon, but we need to get certain information to make the right decision. >> one of the issues that has not been raised during the hearing today is this question of heroin production in afghanistan, which is a pillar to the economy and the source of financing for the taliban. are we making progress? i know it's difficult and it doesn't have to be refrigerated and it doesn't rot. other agricultural products have a problem but as long as is raising the source of financing for the taliban, could you share progress on not? >> yes, the the poppies are very hardy crop and it doesn't take a lot of tending. the growing season may have been monitoring is a strong crop.
and our counter finance effort, which is very multifaceted, the counter drug problem has got to be accounted for. in that regard, we are looking much more at going after will find locations, transportation hubs, transporters, people who make money off it because that's where the taliban gun and come and that's where they get their taxation income from. so that is where we will go after in a more targeted way the counter finance campaign overall, which also includes counter corruption because as you know that money out of the poppies also fueled some of the corruption. we will try to make this an integrated effort against the heroin production. >> i know there's been a couple questions. i was at the foreign relations hearing with the nominee to be ambassador to india before the
foreign relations committee right now. we were talking about u.s.-india strong milk to no cooperation. two questions about tax and how does it fit with the pakistanis at the indian investment in afghanistan on the development projects you mentioned and second, a second question on pakistan. are you seeing the level of cooperation from the pakistani military and government in battling terrorism along the border with afghanistan as a safe haven for people to run over from afghanistan where is their cooperation there that enhances sufferers analogy for that level of cooperation? >> i think the pakistanis look at it with a degree of skepticism, not distress. however, in most cases they can see it's going to roads, hospitals, so it's hard to
dispute the facts on the ground. a point i would make about our south asia strategy here is it is not an exclusive strategy. it is inclusive for anyone who wants the killing of innocent terrorism and restore prosperity and stability. pakistan need not feel like this is an anti-pakistan strategy, nor is our relationship or afghanistan with india and the collaboration. so it's not nonexclusive. as far as cooperation on the border, we know the pakistan army has taken some pretty severe losses in those attacks. let me ask the chairman to say a few words about the cross-border counterterrorism campaign. >> senator, and they have done a lot in the border area and secretary mattis has mentioned it suffered significant casualties. in my judgment, what we need is an effective bilateral relationship between afghanistan
and pakistan to manage the border area. we have a broad framework on that for three to four years and i don't than satisfactory progress has been made. we were encouraged just this week boswell's visit to afghanistan to quibble the day before yesterday appeared very good meetings with afghan leadership. our leadership was engaged in those meetings as well as a commitment to address those issues and do better coordination on the border area appeared when we were doing that, we had a better degree of cooperation along the border in better visibility as we drew down the force that was everyplace but the fact is afghan pakistan cooperation. as you correctly point out, that has to be one of the key elements of our success moving forward and again, the pressure put on afghanistan to move in that direction the first few days, way too early to tell. the first two days particularly
with general boswell to kabul is interesting. we make thank you very much. >> on behalf of chairman can come to senator purdue. thank you, mr. chairman. general dunford, how would you define victory now in the regional strategy the administration you guys are offering now. i've thought for years having said that round in pakistan in the relationship between india, pakistan, afghanistan, russia, china is critical obviously. but how would you now defined for the american people after 16 years our current view of what the tree looks like in afghanistan. >> i think it's probably for components for for components through the verses is we would defeat al qaeda and then prevent the other 18 groups that operate from south asia from conducting attacks against the united states. the american people are partners. the second component would be the afghan security forces at the minimal amount of support can provide security inside of
afghanistan. the third component would be supporting president ghani's initiative to secure 80% of the population in the key economic centers within the next four years. it outlined a plan to do that. the fourth element is supporting the reconciliation process specifically an afghan led peace process that allows them to solve the problems to the process as opposed to the battlefield. those will be the four component that i believe as you look at it through the military dimension are for us to be successful. >> including the taliban. >> that is correct. it would include the taliban said they'd no longer have grievances on the battlefield that are part of the peace process. >> from an expectation point of view, we've had soldiers, men and women in japan. the question is it reasonable to expect in the first definition of victory about a fifth and the
other 18 potential terrorist threats out there. is this a static point in time our dynamic thing we have to ensure over the future? >> i believe we have enduring interest in south asia and those will require a diplomatic presence, economic presence in military presence or the nature of the diplomatic economic and military commitment will change over time. in that perspective the military commitment we have right now is the moment in time with the military contribution will decrease over time as the afghan forces have stood up. as a mention in my opening statement convoy pulled up for advisory statement prematurely before the afghans are capable of a fight on the road. in my judgment it will be a few years but the afghans would get to the point where the much lower level of support will be capable of securing afghanistan. >> thank you. secretary moniz, i was in
afghanistan today with general bosch while we went to the border area and so forth yet he animated he was willing to cooperate doing passwords in that president ghani who also was supportive of that idea back in july. i think time is of the essence here. i would really like to see more of that potential cross-border cooperation particularly the hook on the network. my question leads to russia. both on that trip in also in public recently back in december 16, brushes overtly went legitimacy by claiming that the taliban is fighting isis. it looks like we have enjoyed both there. just a conference in december 2016 on afghanistan without inviting the afghans from india. advocating for reconciliation with the taliban including the leaders of terrorist. what is russia's endgame in
afghanistan today and how do we counter it in the long-term strategy? >> senator, i'm concerned russia is nonoperating at its own best interest of what it's doing in south asia. secretary tillerson is engaged on this issue and we will try to bring some strategic thought into the situation. but i can tell you that we have concerns about what russia is doing. they may be more deeper -- no deeper into focus in the eye they'll do it. either against their own interests. it defies logic that they would see any benefit to engage in the way they have with these other two countries in light of the apparent support and i can't define that support right now. we are trying to get the intel on it and figure out why russia
is going this way. as far as the other two, what we see is russia trying to be a player in charge of the south asia outcomes and they think it is much better. we all work together on this rather than exclusively. >> thank you. senator mccaskill, please. >> thank you both so much for your hard work and they think you've got both incredible responsibilities and are handling it well. i was concerned about high risk reporting in january for afghanistan. i know it won't surprise either of you to know based on the history of this committee that i was particularly concerned about the management investigation. we have more contractors on the ground in afghanistan did we have active military as you all are well aware. we are never going back to a time where we are not incredibly reliant on contractors.
so i've been like a broken record. we've got to get this contract oversight right. this report came out before the report that we learned about $50 million that went to new century consulting to buy porsches, a bentley, aston martin, land rover, prohibited weapons as well as questionable unallowable expenses than $420,000 in salaries for spouses or significant others of the cfo and ceo. so i need to know what your senses about this. and i need to know who was supposed to be overseeing the contract and what has happened to that person. was that a clr that was overseeing the contract? was it the one higher in the command that was overseeing this contract? i mean, what this kind of contract money going out the
door, after all of the years we worked on this with the contracting command and i know we have made progress. i know we have. but when i see this after all the work we had done on wartime contracting and cleaning up, and it makes me depressed. can either of you shed any light on how we would have an incident that to me shows real backsliding in terms of contract oversight. >> senator, i have to look into the specifics you are bringing out. that said, we have made very clear that the contracting that is going on in afghanistan must be focused on the combat capability that we are bringing their comment that we are going to work with the international donors to address other aspects of development in the country and i want a review boards that in fact we perhaps with its own ig going to be looking at each of these. i want continuity of effort on
contracts of people want they sign a contract are held accountable for the life of the contract. right now i cannot assure you that is the direction we are taking this. >> senator, if i could follow-up on the resources. we have worked closely. i think one of the positive changes that has taken place over the last couple of years as opposed to just providing report, we have been looking at lessons learned in trying to incorporate those. we tried a few years ago to move much of the money we are providing to the afghans on budget. that didn't work i'd would significantly reduce the amount of money do we know are directly dispersing those funds and we have direct oversight. secretary moniz mentioned in his opening statement the compact that has been signed between the embassy in president ghani as well, which is given as visibility into the afghan organizations as well. one of the things we did when we
had a failure analysis for secretary matters moving forward so we could answer the hard questions, the right questions, why are things different moving forward is repeated failure analysis of the corruption we have seen, the contracting we have seen in the lack of visibility and transparency resources are an issue. i had this over in my office as we were doing the failure analysis and it was part of our team that put together a failure analysis for the secretary. with your emphasis on this figure over time and the memory, we have done the best we can moving forward to incorporate those lessons learned and particularly in those areas where we talk about a significant amount of money in taxpayer dollars. >> you know in the culture of the military is that when there is a screw up, somebody is held accountable. and who is held accountable is a big deal as to whether that occurs again. i would really like a follow-up
from both of you or from you you, general dunford directly as to who you know what is on the line for this contract in the excessive abuse in this particular contract because they cannot somebody to make an example of in this area makes it different. when we started down this road they were handed the clipboard to somebody on the totem pole and says you're supposed to be seeing the early years in terms of contract oversight. i need to know that somebody is hot accountable in afghanistan. >> senator, not familiar with the details of the contract will get i.t. right away. >> on behalf of senator mccain, chairman tell us. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here and your continued service. secretary matters, i was here for your opening comment that i like the way you framed around
regionalize, realign and reinforce, they all make sense. i am more concerned with some and that is foundational to ultimately been successful and that is reconciled. there seems to be two pieces of that i would like for us to drill down on in general dunford, you as well. when i was in afghanistan last, there was a lot of optimism around some of the economic development that was going on in the country. they have a lot of work to do and they were getting partners investing money they are into this helping their underlying economy. there is optimism on the part of president ghani in terms of infrastructure projects. i would like to get a status update on to how those underpinnings are working. that is one piece. i would like to know what if any insights we have in the popular opinion about before our strategy and whether we see are trending in the right direction among the afghan people. finally, i like to talk about
what does the taliban look like in a reconciled country? do they have the political process? were you all envision as the steps toward successful reconciliation, which would actually have to deal with that. >> senator tillis, on the reconciliation effort, obviously the underpinning you accurately point out are what gives people hope. i think that progress and violence coexisting right now, what we need to do is expand the security envelope behind which much of this development progress for which we have a large amount of international support, especially now that they see we are going to stay the course. that will be coming in. as part of the popular opinion, we track it through polls, not only are relevant polls taken by international organizations,
unaffiliated with us, we also have our own. i would note that in the last several weeks, one of the things we look at his property values in kabul. we just got the readout in the property value has started going up since we've announced the strategy. in other words, there is a certain amount of commitment now when it is something we can't control. that's why we look at it. this is object to data. this is not subject to evaluation. so as we look at this process going forward, we see development funds coming in largely from the international donors that is going to help keep president ghani's optimism fueled with start up field money. we also have opportunities in the extraction industries that if we can get the security right in certain areas that can start creating income for the
government. overall, there appears to be a psychological impact already of what we've done by implementing the strategy. leaders say it is because of military success, although he mentions senator for the first time in 16 years we have all six afghan army course on the offensive at the same time. >> general dunford, anything to add? >> the only thing i went out on the third question, which is an important question, what does reconciliation look like? at the end of the day we are hoping to set the conditions where taliban believes they will come to the peace table in order to move forward. i think the question is uniquely capable of being answered by the afghan people. i don't think we can actually impose that. that is something that taliban in the context of an afghan led peace process will have to figure out how they incorporated into the political system inside of afghanistan and how do they move beyond seeking political objectives by using violence?
>> thank you. general mattis, a nasty two -- secretary matters, i won't ask you to cover it now on my remaining time. i would be interested in any information that gives me a sense that the popular opinion trending what we've seen, maybe before we announced a strategy afterwards and that is something that is a really good indicator for what we are doing. we only succeed if we win the hearts in their minds and reconciliation continues if we make positive progress at the time we are fighting. >> thank you on behalf of the chairman, senator donnelly, please. thank you, mr. chairman. i went to thank you vote for your service, for everything you've done for your country. going back to afghanistan and i apologize if this has been asked. has it ever changed if pakistan
does not end safe havens. does it ever change? we can continue to put more people in, have less people there do this, do that. does it ever stabilize if that step doesn't occur? >> i think it would be highly difficult to sustain any stabilization in south asia. not just in afghanistan, but certainly anywhere around pakistan, india, safe havens are removed. >> let me follow up with this then come the general, mr. secretary. we have tried for a long time, had meeting after meeting with the pakistani government and i would like both of you to answer this. what does change their mind in regard to the safe haven policy? how do you ever moved the ball? >> i think being very clear and
firm in what we expect in using all aspects of the government to bring -- bring about that change, working internationally the reason we started with a regional strategy, we didn't start with afghanistan work out where the pair remain certainly began with the recognition of the role of india, russia, china, pakistan. >> what carrot or stick for better term moves the pakistan government to change? >> there are a number of lines about her being put together now in the secretary-treasurer sophists, secretary of state office, my own office, the intel agencies, we are also working with general stoltenberg to ensure that nato's equities are brought to bear. certainly india has a role to play as a neighbor and potentially a very strong economic benefit to pakistan if
pakistan can find a way to carry out its international responsibilities and any kind of safe haven inside the country. there is a great deal pakistan can benefit economically, diplomatically, financially for its government, economically for its people by finally sensing the tide has shifted against this. >> general dunford, is it your sense that the isi is still helping the taliban? >> senator, it is clear to me that the isi has connections with terrorist groups. if i could follow-up on something secretary mattis said. over the last several years, we've had a bilateral approach to try to effect a change in pakistan's behavior. if you think about the coalition, we sold 39 nations part of the coalition in afghanistan and many other
interested nations. the answer to your question, what one thing might change pakistan? i don't think there is one thing, but it's hard to imagine we can't get more cooperation that we can fully leverage the multilateral approach with 39 nations in the other nations not to include china and india that are not in the coalition but clearly a vital national interests inside of south asia. if we can have a diplomatic and economic effort that harnesses all the potential faulty latterly, would've a much better chance than better chance that we've had today but the bilateral approach. >> of i could switch to north korea for a moment, and this is obviously speculation. but what do you think gets kim jong un to put a halt? where do you think is what he is looking forward in terms of either decision because he feels threatened and/or a decision to
halt because he feels maybe there is a path forward here. >> senator, if you walk back and say what is he doing and why, and the intel community assesses and i agree that kim jong un is on the path he is right now because he believes it is necessary to enhance the survival of his regime. he uses the position of ballistic missiles as an inextricable link to regime survival. what i think kim jong un is to realizes he cannot provide with ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons because the international community will not allow him. if there was one area identified by many people as may be one that would most profoundly change his behavior, it would be the loss of oil and we've seen in the past when the oil had been cut off there's been a
change in kim jong un's behavior. by giving its economic resources for the country to survive. when he starts to have the risk calculation of the patsy is on and actually the regime surviving because of economic resources, that is the best potential, which is why we should support secretary tillerson's current path of diplomatic and economic pressure to convince him being a part of the international community in a key component of secretary tillerson's plan has been the prospect of north korea earning back into the community of nations in addressing their economic challenges when he views the chances of doing that more important than the patsy is on there is a potential for change. we are prepared but the military option should that fail, but we are all at this point doing what we can to nature the economic and diplomatic pressure campaign gets a full opportunity to proceed.
>> thank you both for your service to the country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen come to thank you for the testimony. i want to echo what a number of my colleagues have mentioned. it gives the american people a comfort to see the two of you living on our military and department of defense after and i just want to applaud you for all you are doing and the focus here given to some of these important national security issues and what are clearly challenging times. one area i don't think you've gotten enough compliments for what you have done is the isis strategy. kamen, new strategy, serious strategy started to implement and we are not there yet, but i think it's clearly working, clearly reversing what had ran a losing battle and maybe i can ask you to initially comment on
not because the american people are fully aware that they are completely on the defensive now in my view a large measure to your leadership, your strategy and of course to the troops executing that. secretary mattis, care to comment? >> the troops have been an enormous job there in less team other forces to work alongside us. it has been a very complex field as you know. but right now, isis has seen its fund-raising and recruiting dry up because of what we have done to them on the battlefield. that said, they remain a threat and we are taking no sense of complacency here and it is still a full-fledged fight. >> let me ask that you put together another strategy. i think a lot of us, you and a similarly positive manner, you
talk a lot about the regional strategy. i think that's really important with regard to afghanistan and your focus, which i think is actually critically important on india matters not only to afghanistan, but to other challenges we are seeing throughout the country. i think they can be an incredibly important strategic partner of ours. we share similar values. all these largest democracies in the world working together. can you give me a sense, mr. secretary on your recent trip not only with regard to the importance that india could play with regard to our afghanistan policy, but other challenges, china's aggressive actions in the south china sea and the rise of china and looking at india as a partner on those key issues were interests align? >> senator, your point about
where our interests align is very indicative of the current situation we find ourselves in. what we have right now, senator, a strategic convergence, generational opportunity between the two largest democracies in the world to work together based on those shared interests of peace, prosperity, stability in the region and india is coming into its own. it is going to be a global player and i think this is quite right as prime minister modi takes them forward economically to a much higher level of living for his people, to a bigger role in the world and not roll from our give is one right now and i think we are natural partners. india and the united states and we recognize each other's sovereignty. we have respect for each other, but we also see the opportunity right now.
>> is safe to say your baby as well while in india. >> comedians could not have gone better. >> rate. >> let me turn to north korea. a lot of concern on not. i for one very much appreciate your regular briefings you've had with this committee. i think they've been constructed. they are helping bring both members, democrats and republicans into china. help with regard to that policy, strategy are very challenging national security issue as we all know. the main efforts and continues to be diplomacy. i know you've been asked this a number of times, but i want to reiterate that. simple yes or no on not. >> i have diplomatically led by secretary tillerson bizarre economic sanctions. you've seen demonstrated by the unanimous u.n. security council resolution. how often do a fine russia, china, the united states, others
all voting as one. it shows a degree of acceptance. this is an international threat and people are working together and perfectly while working together to try to address it and we will continue to maintain a department of defense that looks towards the defense of our people in the defense of our allies with military options on the table. >> thank you. if i made just one final quick question on part of our strategy that the president in the two of you and others have been talking about how critical the missile defense is as a key of our strategy, not just korea, the rogue nations like iran. we had a number of provisions. the administration looking at additional measures. can you describe those, general r. mr. secretary in terms of what you want to do, how we can
be supportive? one of the breakthroughs you saw his missile defense is no longer a partisan issue being viewed are in much a bipartisan issue and i think that is important. we just need to know exactly what you need to be doing to advance that which we need to be doing more in the near term. >> we've enjoyed bipartisan support upon the helm. budget has increased in the years ahead by december that will halt. by the senate and the house but basically 440 million more in fy $17.2 reprogrammed to get more of the ground-based interceptors and increase the number of sent tears and the emphasis in the
near term is exactly where you indicated that you will see it reflect it in the budget we submit for your consideration in the future. >> thank you, gentlemen. appreciate it. >> senator blumenthal. >> thank you for image, senator reid. thank you both for her service. you've been thanked many times by which seems as pernicious as
referenced. >> sir, iran has, over many years played a very complex role and at times is hard to figure out. they've had their own diplomates killed by taliban in the past and yet, they've also supported the taliban at times with mall amounts of money dribbled in or weapons, this sort of thing. the bottom line, i think that iran thrives where there's chaos and you'll see that in syria, you see it in lebanon, what they've tried to do in the eastern province of awed saudi arabia and you see it in yemen. the only consistent thing on iran they seem to go where they can create trouble and destabilize countries in their region. it's not in their best interest, we all can see that. objective appraiser said that's not in iran's best interest,
but for some reason they keep on doing it. >> why do you think it's not in their best interest. >> if you're looking out for your people in a nation state and not acting like a revolutionary cause to stay in power, then you want peace because you don't want the economic advantages for your people. you're not going to have the kind of diplomatic engagements with your people that represents their best interest, but i think that to those in power right now, in holding the real power in tehran, they want to play the role of revolutionary power to stay this power. >> thank you for that answer, mr. secretary. i want to shift to puerto rico, if i may. i want to begin by extending my thanks to the men and women under your command who are providing essential assistance in puerto rico, there are
military members there now, including the connecticut national guard whom i saw off just a few days ago. they're deployed in relief efforts that impose considerable hardship on them and some risk as well. so, i think they are to be thanked and my hope is that there will be more of them because more of needed as well as logistical support helicopters and other kind of equipment there. the military, essentially, is the only potential resource and asset in puerto rico that can provide the transportation and restoration of power and so forth. i met yesterday with members of the department of defense, along with fema, at the fema headquarters, and my colleagues and i went there at the invitation of the administrator of fema and what impressed me
is the, very bluntly, need for additional troops and resources there from the department of defense in order to fill the gap and the disconnect between the supplies that are in the ports and the airports and the people in the cities and interior that need those food, medicine, water, and other essential supplies. so, i think there's an opportunity for greater department of defense involvement. general dunford, you may recall when i asked you about this topic, you said, i'm quoting, if there is more that needs to be done, i can assure you that secretary mattis places puerto rico is a priority for all of us and the general is in consta constant contact with fema as well as the officials in puerto rico to provide all the support they need, end quote.
i hope that commitment is continuing and i hope that the department of defense will have plans going forward because as of yesterday when i met with fema officials, they could not assure me that there is a plan for the department of defense involvement and/or longer term recovery on the island. so, i thank you for that contribution that has been made so far and i hope that there will be a plan and that -- of commitment of resources going forward. >> senator, i assure you, this is all hands on deck. there is no delay, when the request comes in, it's approved the moment it hits the pentagon. over 10,000 troops there, three ships pre positioned and now six ships for today or tomorrow and as we had to reopen the airports themselves which is part of the restraint on how many aircraft we can get in, it
was a logistic effort simply to open the door to come in. you bring in a few people to get things opened up and expanding, but there is no lack of resources, sir, we are ready to go, even to the point that it's going to impact the deployments, perhaps, of some of these troops overseas next year as we've interrupted their preparation. that's okay, when it's helping fellow americans especially although we also helped some of the other small countries that were hard-hit. when it comes to helping americans, it's all hands on deck and we don't have a problem from volunteers, from the various national guards and certainly every unit, every ship is leaning forward for a mission like this. >> i have no question, sir, about your commitment and general dunford. what concerns me is that waiting for requests from the local leadership without a larger plan from the department
of defense may create gaps or disconnects and i hope that the president, when he's visiting today, will ask for a plan as a result of his trip and i know that you have a commitment to develop. >> we're in support of fema, sir, that's why we've pre-positioned ships and troops with so-- even about of they asked for it. it wasn't a matter of calling up some people. we've continued calling up some, but we had people ready to go as fast as they were asked for. >> thank you. >> senator, one change that's taken place, lieutenant general buchanan, the component commander for the army forces at northern command arrived on the ground with a very capable staff. when we spoke last, the secretary alluded to it, it was about opening the ports and the airfields. the focus now is on distribution, that's what you spoke about is the large stock
pile of supplies and so forth getting to the country, but not necessarily out to where the people are. and i can assure you that today, general robinson's command and more particularly general buchanan who is on the ground in puerto rico, they have a plan to support distribution of those supplies and that is their focus and when the secretary spoke about the comfort arriving, that will be over 200 more hospital beds available to the people of puerto rico tomorrow. >> thank you very much. thanks, mr. chairman. >> i want to start by ink thatting both of you for your intention on puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands. it was clear with the radar down, certain things that dod does particularly well and needed to do in order to get the bottlenecks out of the way and we appreciate that focus. i want to go back to iran and the line of questioning that senator king had, and start with just asking if a--
eye rain continues its compliance and congress imposes sanctions anyway. would the u.s. be in violation of the jcpoa under that scenario? >> senator, i don't know. i'd have to look at what the conditions specifically would call for under the jcpoa and what in particular we would not be willing to do. congress has a role to play in this that-- we see it as distinct, but integral. in other words, we look at the problem as having two distinct assets. jcpoa and congressional action. i'd have to compare the details on that, senator.
>> one of the reasons i ask, the scenario, if we unilaterally withdraw from the jcpoa, i'm concerned about a scenario where iran gets to keep its sanctions release, but where we lose key enforcement and intelligence advantages. is there a scenario where those things come to pass, that could possibly be in our national security interest? >> if we're not careful we'll end up with the worst of both worlds, right? >> if it's mishandled, yes, senator, that could happen. it is, as you know, it's still under consideration in the executive branch and i-- and a decision has not been made. >> i would just urge you to consider that. because if we end up in a situation where we're not able to reinstate the sanctions that were multi-lateral, but we also lose our ability to effectively enforce the nuclear agreement,
which sort of lost on both, on both sides of the ledger, that would be an unfortunate outcome for our national security. i want to go back to afghanistan for a moment. i think it's clear that a very concise, clear strategy is essential. both for a positive end state in afghanistan and absolutely key for our troop morale and i think it's been challenging with a conflict that's gone on for 16 years and a positive end state in many ways still over the horizon, to maintain troop morale, how do you describe troop morale in afghanistan at the moment? >> senator, i was just there a couple of days ago and i got on board the aircraft after our last stop with secretary-general stoltenberg, as an outside observer probably
looking at a dozen different forces, and nation's forces our own being dominant of the groups that he saw and he said, you know, i'm amazed how high the morale, that they have such a strong sense of purpose and i think it humbles all of us to think after 16 years, i personally landed in afghanistan in november of 2001. >> i remember. >> and after 16 years, it reminds us we have a national treasure in the u.s. military that these young patriots, young people, anyone who thinks we've got a problem with the younger generation hasn't seen these lads and lasses in action. they look past the rhetoric and say give me the job, let me go at it. there's a commitment out there that humbles me to this day. >> i couldn't agree more with your sentiment with regard to the quality of people serving in our military today and that's certainly been my experience, both here and
overseas in places like afghanistan and unfortunately a number of other places as well. i want to ask, what is the current price tag for security in afghanistan? are we still roughly spending about $5 billion a year? general dunford? >> senator, we're spending about $12.5 billion. >> 12.5. >> and 1.1 is the cost of uplift we just imposed. >> what is-- i think it was general nicholson who testified at one point roughly 10% of our total allocations were for security, were picked up by the afghan government. should we expect to be paying that in perpetuity? is there any end in sight? what is the limit. >> sure, where that figure comes from, there's about $500
billion a year is what is takes to sustain the afghan forces and international community, coalition, has paid about 5 billion, 5 billion for the afghan forces, 12 billion was the cost of the entire operation we spoke about earlier. >> entire. >> this specifically is 5 billion. about 1 billion is paid by international partners, members of nato and so forth and 500 million by the afghan government. we could expect that that figure will increase over time and the afghans become more self-sufficient. right now, the afghans have commitments from the international community and the united states as a result of the nato summit until 2020. and so, after that, there's going to have to be a plan for sustaining the afghan security forces. >> thank you both. chair. >> senator nelson. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you gentlemen. and i certainly want to echo,
it took the united states military getting into puerto rico and you all are doing the job. if you could for me, just clarify the numbers. we call the pentagon last night. they said 1100 in puerto rico. we called the national guard last night they said # 3300 and you have just said 10,000. so some clarification on the numbers would be most appreciated, but the fact is, that you're doing the job and it's too bad that it took until late last week to get general buchanan in place because once he got in place, things started to improve. so, thank you very much for that. so, just at your convenience, general dunford, give us some clarity on the numbers. >> if you have them now, fine.
otherwise-- >> senator, we do. secretary mattis and i both have the numbers we do have over 10,000 on the ground right now. that's just about short of 4,000 the active component and almost 7,000 members of national guard and that includes all the troops that are currently supporting both operations in the virgin islands and puerto rico. as you know, because of the multiple storms have happening in sequence we don't have forces specifically assigned, but they're providing support throughout the area. >> okay. that's clearly the step in the right direction. i give you all the accolades that you are due because that is what it took to get the distribution out into the interior of the island. since the purpose of this hearing is afghanistan, i wanted to ask you, pakistan is sometimes friendly and sometimes it's not when it comes to afghanistan and the
president has said he was going to put significant new pressure on pakistan. can you explain that to the committee? what he meant? >> i can, senator nelson. the pressure will be, let's put it in optimistic terms, they can see where their interests converge with the international community stopping terrorism. they've lost probably more troops than any other single country in the fight against terrorism. at the same time we've seen havens left to the terrorists own devices. we've seen the government of pakistan come down on terrorism while isi appears to run its own foreign policy. so, what we're going to do is working with the international community at the south asia neighboring nations, plus
china, russia, looking for common ground with all of these nations and the 39 troop contributing nations that include nato, plus nato's partners, we're going to work to have a very firm list of what is done to change, and then, using diplomatic and economic means, having venues where we share the way ahead with each other, we're going to try to get this to a productive outcome. right now, based on a very recent visit by the chief of army staff from pakistan, there are-- there is actually optimism in kabul and presages a new chapter. i'm in the wheel seat mode, but we intend to bring all the effort the of government in an international way to islamabad
and try to show them out to get out of the situation they're currently in. >> thank you. >> senator warren, please. >> thank you, ranking member reed and thank you, secretary mattis and general dunford for your work and for being here. in august the president released his new afghan strategy and a key part of it seems to be the idea that the military will use all of its tools, i'm sorry, that the u.s. will use all of its tools, military and diplomatic to get the taliban to the negotiating table. the pentagon release says, and i want to quote it, we'll bolster the fighting strength of government forces to convince the taliban they cannot win on the battlefield. this will set conditions for the ultimate goal of our strategy, a peace settlement between the government of afghanistan and the taliban that protects our interests. now, for some of us, this strategy seems like deja vu all
over again. so, i just have a straightforward question on this. secretary mattis, can you explain to me how you will, quote, convince the taliban they cannot win on the battlefield, when 16 years of evidence suggests otherwise? >> well, the point we're making is, that the change to a condition space means we set the conditions, we bolster, to use the word that you just quoted there, we bolster the fighting forces capability so that the taliban find they cannot kill their way to power, is the bottom line. it's going to be a fight. we've already seen difficulties in the taliban's campaign, for example, they're still trying to take down provincial and district centers. they've been unable to do so. for the first time in 16 years, six afghan army corps were on
the offensive. you see, that's the way we drive the enemy to understand they cannot wait us out. before they could wait us out. they always knew what the timeline was for withdrawal and kept sensing we were leaving. >> we've had multiple strategies people coming in saying we're use ago different military strategy, a different military strategy, and this time it will work. i don't think i can count how many times that has happened in 16 years. the part you're focused now is the part at the end of the they can't wait us out and that's what bothers me because what it seems to be saying is that the trump administration's plan to force the taliban to the negotiating table is to say, we are willing to continue to fight the afghan war forever. and that just can't be, it can't. we're not fighting the afghan war, ma'am, we're not going to
supplant our troops for 320,000 afghan troops who fortunately their casualties are going down and the taliban are going up. we're going to assist them in fighting this war and we're not going to put a timeline on it that the taliban then gets hope that we can wait them out. >> with respect, mr. secretary, you're talking about having our troops in afghanistan in harm's way forever. and that can't be right. you're saying that's the key to this. >> but the point is not forever because we're saying you can't wait us out and the way you win this, it's a matter of will. it is not-- certainly we may have advisors there ten years from now, but the taliban will not be the enemy they are. pulling out, i am convinced with imperil the people of massachusetts and california. >> i understand that that's your position on this, but i'm very concerned that the central
change seems to be we'll wait them out, which is an open-ended commitment that sounds a lot like the word forever for me. let me ask you about one other thing from that statement. the statement says that we're going to have a negotiated settlement that, quote, protects our interest. can you just say a word, mr. secretary, about what that means? >> that means that transnational attacks on the united states would not occur, that to our interest we don't be attacked as we saw coming out of that area on 9/11 and furthermore, the way you do that is helping the afghan people to have a security force that defends them so they don't have these kind of attacks germinating in their mountains coming against new york city. >> and we're going to do this through negotiations. secretary mattis, we've now been in afghanistan for 16 years, 2,386 brave americans have died, more than 20,000
have been wounded, more than 100,000 afghans have been killed. we've spent nearly 1 trillion dollars and after all of that, the afghan forces still lack the ability to stand on their own, the government controls less than 60% of their territory. they control only a third of their population, the u.n. reported that opium production in afghanistan rose 43% last year alone and endemic with no signs of diminishing, fewer than half of afghans support of the afghan unity government. i understand the need to present afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven from terrorist groups and i very much appreciate the work you're doing and your coming here today, mr. secretary, but best i can tell this new strategy is just more of the same except we've removed the
timetable because we have little hope of success within any identifying time period. >> senator, we are-- we have removed the timetable that gave hope to the taliban. at the same time we are going to give support and advice and assistance at a level in the afghan military that for the all the casualties they took, they are not as effective as they could have been so by making them more effective, the afghan military will worsen the situation the taliban faced and we will be ready to talk at any point. but it's the same conditions secretary clinton established for the taliban, stop killing people, stop supporting international terrorists, and live by the constitution. that's a pretty low bar that we're driving toward, it will be afghan-led reconciliation is where we're going. >> and i just say with respect, yes, it is a very low bar that
we're driving toward and we're losing. >> i would disagree with the last point, ma'am. >> well, i -- all i know is to look at the numbers and the drug trade is up, corruption is up, there's no support for the government, and more and more people keep dying and we keep hearing our generals come in here and tell us over and over, just give us one more military plan and it's going to work. it's just hard to buy that. it's hard to buy on behalf of the people who put their lives at risk. >> sure. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> thanks, senator warren. >> gentlemen, thank you for your testimony and for your service and behalf of chairman mccain, i will adjourn the hearing. thank you. had
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